FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The mask mandate may be gone but the road to the end of the pandemic continues. Many questions remain on the future COVID, especially with the vaccine which is rolling out fast in Allen County.
How long will I stay immune from COVID when I get the vaccine?
“This is a novel virus which means we’ve never seen it before and so the answer is we don’t know yet. Initially the guidance was if you got a vaccine, you could be very confident for immunity for three months. That’s been extended, but we just don’t know if that’s going to be six months of immunity, whether that’s going to be a year of community, whether that’s going to be multiple years of immunity. It’s too early to know yet if booster shots will be necessary.”
Should I worry about COVID vaccine side effects?
“The side effects that people have can be uncomfortable although they’re not dangerous. Some people have no side effects at all. Some people have mild fatigue, some arm soreness and some people get fevers and chills and feel really bad for a day so. They can think they are infected perhaps because they’re running a fever but it’s really the immune system’s response to the vaccine. Now we don’t know for sure, but there is some thought to people who have more of a reaction might be getting a more robust immune response and that’s a good thing because what we want is that robust immune response because that’s what builds t-cell immunity, antibody immunity and helps those memory cells last for a long time in case you get exposed to it in the future.”
What should we think about the virus variants?
“So we don’t have great information about all the variants. In fact, this is the first epidemic where we’ve been able to realtime genetic sequence to know about variants as they’re happening. But the ability to do that is still very, very limited. So we’ve got very little data about what variants might be happening in Allen County, but of the variants that are known that are seen accross the country, the vaccines should be effective against all of those involved.”
Is COVID-19 going to be a seasonal virus?
“It’s too early to know about seasonality. The thing that’s different between this and flu is we have a very effective vaccine. The flu mutates so quickly, it’s hard to make effective vaccines. This mutates more slowly so the vaccines are likely to have a little bit better reach. We don’t know the overall effect of that and we probably won’t know until this fall.”
Is this 4th wave of COVID we’re experiencing the last “surge?”
“This has been such a hard virus to figure out. No I’m not going to say it’s the final wave. The good news is that nationally, we’re averaging more than 3 million doses of vaccine a day. we are getting large numbers of vaccine to people and people are increasingly seeing new side effects with it. Lots of people are getting it without significant problems and the vaccines remain 100 percent effective against death from COVID-19. They’re incredibly effective and they’re incredibly safe. So the more people that get it, the safer we are as a community.”